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The foundation of PCOS(Polycystic OvarianSyndrome) or any metabolic disorder is poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Changing that would bring an immediate change in hormonal balance; in fact, would reverse PCOS completely.
What are the factors responsible for PCOS and insulin resistance?
- High carbohydrate intake: It’s not ghee or white butter that’s responsible for obesity, PCOS or high insulin but high carbohydrate intake. Too much refined flour, biscuits, packed and ready to eat foods, bread, high intake of cereals and pulses are the biggest culprits for it.
- Not eating well: Skipping meals, following crash or wrong diets to lose weight can lead to nutrition deficiencies that can ruin the metabolism. It destroys the ability of the body to work efficiently. Hormones are made up of proteins and fats. If one doesn’t eat them enough; hormones would never work efficiently.
- Eating too many unhealthy fats: Sex hormones- estrogen, progesterone are made up of fats. Replacing healthy and natural fats like ghee, white butter, coconut, unprocessed cheese, full-fat yogurt, full-fat paneer (cottage cheese), egg yolk, fish, olives, nuts with unhealthy fats like trans-fats, refined vegetable oils or hydrogenated fats are the cause of hormonal imbalance. PCOS or insulin resistance are both related to high carbohydrate and poor quality fat intake.
- Low calorie or low-fat foods: Low calorie and low-fat foods are extremely rich sources of carbohydrates. It’s the worst option to think of, as it would make the things worse.
- No workouts: On the name of workouts, people are just doing walking or yoga. I don’t mean to say, it’s bad, what I mean is that to reverse PCOS, insulin resistance, resistance training is utmost important. Resistance training improves the sensitivity of the hormones to function better. Insulin starts taking up glucose efficiently. Note one important thing, PCOS and insulin sensitivity is the result of high body fat %. With resistance training or weight training, one would burn body fat for 48 hours, unlike only cardio or yoga.
- Too much stress and negativity- Too much stress increases the cortisol hormone leading to poor digestion and obesity.
Immediate Dietary Steps to reverse PCOS:
- Eat lots of healthy fats: This should be your top priority. One’s diet should be at least 50% healthy fats to reverse PCOS and insulin resistance. Include healthy fats like fresh homemade cream, thick yogurt, cottage cheese, white homemade butter, unprocessed cheese like Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta, Gouda. Also include ghee, egg yolk, coconut, nuts, avocados, or olives. Don’t worry you won’t gain weight.
- Eliminate unhealthy fats completely: Unhealthy fats are either reused hydrogenated fats or processed yellow butter or cheese. All the packed and ready made variety is full of trans fats or hydrogenated fats.
- Omega 3 to omega 6 ratio: This should only be 1:2. Omega 6 is almost there in vegetables, cereals, pluses we consume on daily basis. Omega 3 is almost negligible in our diet. Eliminate cooking in vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower oils. Replace them with ghee or white homemade butter for cooking. Supplement omega 3: 1 tablet post lunch and dinner to see a tremendous difference in the hormone sensitivity. Take care, all the bakery items are loaded with trans fat too. Remember, anything that is packed or processed is loaded with trans fat whereas all the natural available foods are high in good quality fats.
- Eliminate low-fat food products: Every item that claims to be low fat has only trans fat form of fat or is loaded with carbohydrate to make it tastier. Never fall prey to low calorie or low-fat variety.
- Concentrate on the body composition: Focus more on fat loss than just weight loss. Weight loss can never give you the correct indication of health and fitness. You might lose muscle or water more than fat, it won’t show on the weight scale. An ideal indication of fat loss is more inch loss than just weight loss.
- Go gluten and lactose-free. Gluten and lactose can inflame the gut. Eliminating them show tremendous changes in the hormonal balance, metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
- Eliminate refined sugars, all-purpose flour (maida) and products, packaged foods, ready-to-cook food, instant food, instant noodles, pasta, chocolate, butter, processed cheese, mayonnaise, syrups, flavors, aerated drinks, diet foods, puffed rice (kurmura), low calorie food, sugary drinks, energy drinks, sauces or ketchup.
- Gut health is the most important aspect in the recovery of any disease or stress. Stick to healthy easy digestible carbs like white rice, sweet potato, white potatoes, banana instead of heavy carbohydrates like wheat, jowar, bajra or any pulses. Keep the carbohydrate intake to only 25-30% of the total calories.
- Include high antioxidants: Antioxidants destroys the free radicals which improve the work efficiency of the hormones. It plays a vital role in improving the sensitivity of insulin. Vitamin C 1000mg works as a strong antioxidant. Do incorporate this into your meal plan.
- Weight training is must: 2-4 sessions of weight training in a week, depending upon the seriousness of the case is important. 4 workouts in a week of weight training show tremendous changes in fertility and insulin sensitivity.
- Eat every 2-3 hours without fail. Your metabolism will be on track too soon with this strategy.
- Never have only soup and salad for dinner. Note, soup and salad are appetizers, they increase the production of digestive juices to have more food absorption, but eating only that will keep you super hungry in the night which makes you sleepless and binge in the night time. Plus you tend to over eat in the morning.
Grocery list for PCOS/ hormonal imbalance patients:
- Indian ghee for cooking instead of refined oils.
- Almond or coconut milk instead of normal milk because milk is loaded with hormones causing so many hormonal issues.
- Anti-inflammatory foods like nuts, flax seeds, sweet potato, white rice (avoid wheat or any other cereals), green vegetables. Heal your gut.
- Antioxidants like cherry, plums, peaches, berries. Choose fruits and food in a variety of colors. Eat them post workout only.
- Whey protein 1 scoop is a must-have along with whole organic eggs 2 or organic milk paneer (cottage cheese) 100 gm.
- Omega 3 capsules- 1000 mg will keep the levels of hormones optimal and works as anti-inflammatory. Have them 1 cap after lunch and dinner.
- Vitamin C 1000 mg and vitamin E 400 mg